Thursday, 20 July 2017

Three-year project to enhance our green spaces

SOLIHULL Council has secured almost £2million to improve wildlife habitats across the borough, including several sites in North Solihull.
The local authority has been awarded more than £966,000 from the European Regional Development Fund, the majority of which will be match funded by the council alongside the Environment Agency.
The money will be pumped into preserving and improving 28 sites located within residential areas, including Alcott Wood, Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood, Yorks Wood, Meriden Lake, the Low Brook (at Kingshurst) and Cooks Lane.
Efforts to create reed beds, plant new trees and shrubs and convert grassland into meadows will be taking place over the course of the next three years.
Ian Courts, Deputy Leader of Solihull Council, said: "Many of the sites included in the programme are situated in the north of the borough and will therefore support the ongoing investment being made to homes, businesses and infrastructure in the area."
While some residents have welcomed the news, others have greeted the announcement with more scepticism - suggesting the improvements won't make amends for a number of controversial decisions to develop green spaces such as Babbs Mills.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Man meets the woman who saved his life 44 years ago

DEBT OF GRATITUDE: Andy Steggles meets Anne Morgan
Picture/Midlands Today

A MAN has had an emotional reunion with the woman who helped saved his life in North Solihull more than 40 years ago.
Andy Steggles was just three-years-old when he fell into Hatchford Brook and almost drowned.
It was only the intervention of two passers-by which saved his life on that fateful day in May 1973.
Earlier this year, Andy, now 47 and living in the United States, had made an appeal to trace the Good Samaritans.
To his delight he was put in touch with Anne Morgan [nee Barley], a Marston Green woman who had learned first-aid skills in the girl guides and had rushed to his aid.
Now he has travelled back to the UK and had the chance to meet up with Anne to express his heartfelt thanks. An item on Midlands Today this evening showed the pair meeting for the first time in decades.
"To say I owe you a debt of gratitude is the understatement of the century," said Andy, who had been resuscitated three times.
"To finally meet Anne and thank's a big deal."
Anne, who had received an award from the Royal Humane Society for her actions, said: "I'm so pleased that he's doing so well. Over the years I've thought about him and wondered how he's getting on and what sort of life he's leading."
Andy, his wife Kelly and their two young children also joined Anne on a visit to the stretch of water where his life had been saved.
The businessman is still hoping to make contact with Peter Owen, a Chelmsley Wood man who also played a pivotal part in his rescue all those years ago.
You can watch the full report on BBC iPlayer, although please note that it will only be available until 7pm tomorrow evening.

Bus company makes further changes to the X70

A BUS operator has made fresh changes to its X70 service, admitting that a recent overhaul of the timetable had caused difficulties.
National Express had made alterations to the route last month, as part of a wider shake-up of the network in North Solihull and East Birmingham.
But complaints from passengers forced a rethink and last Sunday, a number of adjustments were made.
These include changes to the weekday timetable, which should make it easier for pupils at Coleshill School.
Some buses will also be given more time to reach their destination, following concerns that traffic in the Castle Bromwich and Bromford area was causing hold-ups during the busiest times of the day.
In a statement, National Express said: "We’re sorry we didn’t get the new X70 timetable right the first time and these changes should fix the issues raised and observed."
You can find the full timetable for the route - running between Chelmsley Wood Interchange and Birmingham city centre - on the website.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Free tree scheme takes root in Solihull

AN INITIATIVE to nurture traditional trees has been launched in Solihull.
The Arden Free Tree Scheme promotes the planting of various native species and aims to reduce carbon in the atmosphere - at a time when concerns about air pollution in urban areas are growing.
The project - being run by Solihull Council, in partnership with Birmingham Airport - is open to any individual or group who wishes to create a hedgerow or small woodland on their land.
Specimens provided will include Silver Birch, Rowan, Holly, Hazel, Hawthorn, Dogwood and Blackthorn.
Landowners who wish to apply should send a location map, plan and a list of desired species to the local authority.
Applications must be submitted by the end of August, with those who are successful to receive the greenery in time for the planting season (which runs from November to March).
Further information about the scheme is available here

Monday, 17 July 2017

All ale church's restoration project

WORK on installing the new set of bells at St Mary and St Margaret’s Church, Castle Bromwich, started today (Monday).
The new frame has been constructed at Taylor’s Bell Foundry, Loughborough, and fitting is now underway.
The rehanging - which will mean that there is a ring of eight bells in the tower for the first time - is expected to take five weeks and will be completed by mid-August.
The bellringers have also confirmed they have commissioned Birmingham-based Two Towers Ale to brew a golden summer ale to celebrate the restoration.

Off-road bikers back out in North Solihull

POLICE have confirmed that they received several reports of illegal racing in North Solihull over the weekend.
PCSO Christopher Stowe, from the Smith's Wood neighbourhood team, said that off-road bikes had been sighted on the estate itself, as well as in Kingshurst and Castle Bromwich wards.
If you have any information about the riders involved in the latest offences please call officers on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Commissioner warns there is "no quick fix" for knife crime

THE West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner has described a recent spate of fatal stabbings - one of which took place in Chelmsley Wood - as "very concerning."
David Jamieson, who had previously served as a Labour councillor for Kingshurst & Fordbridge, acknowledged that there had been a spike in violent incidents across the region.
The death of 65-year-old Philip Rolph, who suffered knife wounds in Alder Drive earlier in the month, was one of five similar incidents to take place in the space of three weeks.
Four other men had died in separate attacks in the Birmingham area and Mr Jamieson (pictured, right) said that all efforts must be taken to put a stop to the recent trend.
In a statement earlier this week, he said: "The police will continue to do all they can to prevent violence and bring perpetrators to justice.
"Tough action, whilst necessary and correct won't stop the rise in violent crime on its own.
"There are no quick fixes and this is not an issue that we can simply arrest our way out of.
"It will only be through concerted efforts to give our young people opportunities and to educate them on the dangers of violence that we will create lasting change."